Egypt's Presidential Election: Emancipation Not on the Ballot
by Larry Everest
Sixteen months after the Egyptian people rose up and drove the hated U.S. puppet Hosni Mubarak from power, the country has elected a new president. On Sunday, June 24, a week after the June 16-17 run-off voting, Egypt's Constitutional Committee named Mohammed Morsi of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood the winner over former general Ahmed Shafik. Shafik was the candidate backed by Egypt's military which has run the country for the last 52 years.
The U.S. government and media called the vote Egypt's "first free and fair election." The Brotherhood, Egypt's military, and the U.S.--which had been closely involved in these events--all praised the outcome as a victory for "democracy," the transition from military rule to civilian control, and a big step toward fulfilling the aspirations of Egypt's 90 million people and completing their "revolution."
Egypt's vote may have served the agenda of the defenders of Egypt's intolerable social order, including the U.S., at least for now. But for the Egyptian people, it will not bring or open up possibilities for any meaningful change. Instead it is but another maneuver to keep the chains of oppression firmly around their necks.
This vote--and the whole 16-month transition leading up to it, including the Egyptian military's June 13-17 assertion of decisive control of the state apparatus right before this latest vote, very clearly showed what elections under the rule of oppressors and U.S.-led democracy are--and are not--about. They demonstrate that elections don't decide state power--state power decides the overall terms and outcome of elections. The dominant classes never put the fundamental nature of society and how it's ruled up for a vote.
Instead, Egypt's rulers worked to use elections to channel peoples' hopes, dreams and activism into political dead-ends and to legitimize--or re-legitimize--the very system that's abused and tormented them. The June 16-17 presidential election was a perfect example: the people were given the "choice" between two outmoded, reactionary oppressors--one an Islamic fundamentalist, the other a representative of the blood-soaked, pro-U.S. Egyptian military--with both part of the current horrific status quo. Emancipation was not on the ballot.
If anything, the last 16 months should teach oppressed people they'll never win liberation through elections--it takes a real revolution, a communist revolution aimed at the emancipation of all humanity to do that--a revolution Egypt has not had and urgently needs. For that to happen, the most crucial task is forging the leadership and organization capable of seizing on the storms ahead and leading such a revolution. (See Bob Avakian, "Egypt 2011: Millions Have Heroically Stood Up... The Future Remains to Be Written," Revolution #224, February 11, 2011)
February 2011...A Hated Dictator Is Forced to Step Down